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The Health Cognition and Behavior Lab is home to a multidisciplinary team of researchers. We study theoretical questions with real world implications for the public’s health.


Trainees publish papers in top journals. In the last year, they published 26 papers, 18 of which as first author. Find them under HPV Vaccine, Tobacco Control, and Other Research.


Mayank Sakhuja

Dr. Mayank Sakhuja

Post-doc Research Associate, Health Behavior

I am interested in research that informs cancer prevention policies and communications with an emphasis on tobacco control. More specifically, I am interested in learning how we can effectively develop, implement and enforce tobacco control policies and interventions, and effectively communicate the risks associated with the use of both tobacco and emerging products with diverse population groups. I also have a strong interest in doing global work, especially in low-and-middle income countries that bear the greatest burden of non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Aditi Tomar, PhD

Dr. Aditi Tomar

Post-doc Research Associate, Health Behavior

I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. My focus revolves around examining factors such as communication, trust, cultural competence, and shared decision-making that shape vaccination behaviors.


Quinn Errico

Quinn Errico

BSPH Student, Biostatistics

I am a third year BSPH student at UNC-CH studying Biostatistics and Global Studies, and I am on track to begin the Biostatistics MSPH degree at UNC in Fall 2025. I am interested in HIV/AIDS health outcomes and investigating health behaviors related to language fluency.

Shayna Farris

Shayna Farris

MSPH Student, Health Behavior

I am a first-year MSPH-to-PhD student in Health Behavior. I am interested in substance use prevention and interventions. My previous experience includes investigating the relationships and environments that influence risk behavior.

Ben Kahn

PhD Student, Health Behavior

I am interested in understanding the social and behavioral factors and public health policies that influence vaccine uptake and hesitancy, including around HPV and COVID-19 vaccination.

Research Staff

Ellie Bernstein

Project Coordinator, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

I am interested in preventive healthcare and promoting access to quality medical care to underserved communities. My previous experience is a combination of clinical care and biochemistry research.

Katie Kritikos

Project Manager, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

I am interested in risk perceptions and health communication strategies. My background is in health behavior, and I have experience with clinical and community-based participatory research.

Jen Heisler-MacKinnon

Project Manager, Health Behavior

I am interested in adolescent health, HPV vaccination quality improvement, and the public policy impact on the health and sustainability of communities.  My previous experience is in health communications, nutrition education, and cancer prevention and control.

Jennifer Mendel Sheldon

Assistant Director of Research, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

I am interested in cancer prevention research, especially in tobacco control policy and health communication. My background is a combination of behavioral sciences and clinical trial research.

Research Scientists

Dr. Tara L. Queen

I am a social science researcher specializing in quantitative research methods. I use survey and experimental methods to explore health-related topics, including tobacco-use, cancer prevention, chronic disease management, and healthy aging.

I earned my PhD in psychology from North Carolina State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. I also trained as postdoctoral researcher in health psychology at the University of Utah.